Service & Solidarity
“Our earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by love, contributes to the building of the universal city of God.”
– Pope Francis, 1 Jan 2019
Service for others, and solidarity with others. It’s a simple and vital part of an Edmund Rice education. We call it our Christian Service and Solidarity Learning Program (CSL). The fundamental principle of CSL is to make a difference by serving people, or serving the environment, where most needed. Serving others exposes our students to inequalities in our wider community. It also teaches them the joy of giving and sharing with others. CSL is a unique learning experience that goes beyond our classrooms.
Edmund Rice College develops young men into leaders in the community, acting with compassion and a strong sense of justice.
Each student is expected to undertake service-learning activities as an integral aspect of their education. Students participate in our ‘Learning to Serve’ initiative by using their gifts and talents to serve their home, College and Church communities.
In Year 10 students undertake our Senior Christian Service & Solidarity Learning Project. Student’s either serve an organisation (over at least two school terms) or design their own project to serve in disability, aged care, sustainability or youth services.
Our community partnerships for this project include Wollongong PCYC, Disability Trust, Lighthouse Community Kitchen, Wesley Community Kitchen, St Vincent de Paul, Wollongong City Bushcare and West Wollongong Public School. Our boys reflect on how they’ve grown as a person by serving others in the wider community.
Edmund Rice College develops young men into leaders in the community, acting with compassion and a strong sense of justice. Student leadership at Edmund Rice College is founded on the Edmund Rice touchstones of Justice and Solidarity, Inclusive Community, Gospel Spirituality and Liberating Education.
Student Leadership is about:
- the realisation of students’ potential
- the enhancement of students’ self-esteem
- the development of discipline and responsibility in students
- the promotion of College spirit
- a culture of respect and tolerance; and
- a sense of pride and belonging in the College and the community.
As a Catholic secondary school, prayer and worship are integral to daily life. Our Liturgy Student Leadership group meets weekly to prepare liturgical elements for school assemblies, social justice projects and advocacy campaigns.
Students and staff serve our College, and wider Church community, as Altar Servers, Lectors or Cantors, Eucharistic Ministers and through the Liturgical Music ministry. Our student leaders created the Gospel Spirituality Badge for students who demonstrate a commitment to their own faith community (over at least two years) while enrolled at Edmund Rice College.
Seeking to bring social justice to the world is part of our roots. It’s the mark of our founder Edmund Rice. Our whole College rises to the call of social justice causes, campaigns and appeals. The generosity of our students, staff and families is outstanding. We support over twenty charities through school-wide activities and organised appeals. Each Year group also chooses a specific charity or cause to put their energy into annually.
Local and community organisations we support include:
Our student leaders have adopted two standpoints on social justice; charity is necessary to alleviate immediate suffering and advocacy is necessary to break down the structures that make people poor or keep people poor.
Edmund Rice Advocacy For Change, is a youth advocacy network, that stands for equality, human rights, justice and solidarity with all people, and with the earth itself. Our College includes an Edmund Rice Advocacy For Change Prefecture as part of the Student Representative Council and each Year group focuses on relevant advocacy activities.
“The call to become involved in advocacy is something that is new to many of us. It may also be something that we may feel unqualified for or that is better left to those given particular responsibility in this area – however it is something that can involve us all” (Br Philip Pinto cfc, Congregational Leader of the Christian Brothers, 2011)
Recently, Edmund Rice Advocacy For Change partnered with Project Futures to shed light on the issue of human trafficking, Act for Peace and local organisation SCARF to support people from a refugee background and White Ribbon to advocate for a positive role for men in eliminating violence against women.
Community & Culture
Encouraging participation in the Arts and co-curricular activities such as chess, debating, Tournament of the Minds and the da Vinci Decathlon, the Community & Culture Prefecture endeavours to ensure that students have opportunities to build our community with a focus on holistic development.
The Eco ERC club is made of student leaders passionate about environmental sustainability and includes a Sustainability Prefect, Student Representatives from each Year Group and interested students across the College.
Undertaking waste and water audits, they have been instrumental in leading the College to reduce our carbon footprint and make changes to our own to ensure caring for the earth is our legacy to future generations. Eco ERC has helped install solar panels, water tanks and water refill stations at the College, with an ongoing focus on recycling. Eco ERC club also held the first Illawarra Sustainability Conference for students in partnership with the University of Wollongong.